US-Taliban Peace Deal and its Impact on India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

US-Taliban Peace Deal and India: The United States of America signed the “Agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan” with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar in the Month of March 2020. Despite this deal, there are rising cases of terror attack in Afghanistan by the various factions. Disagreement among various stakeholders within the state on this signed deal is touted to be a major reason for this increased violence. In this article, we are providing you with an In-Depth analysis of the US- Taliban Deal and its Impact on India. This is a very crucial topic for upcoming UPSC Exam.


  • After the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001, the Taliban protected Osama bin Laden and refused to hand him over. So, a month after the attacks the US launched airstrikes against the Taliban.
  • The US was later joined by an international coalition and since then the US is fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • After 18 long years of fighting, the US under President Trump decided to bring the Taliban on the negotiating table.
  • The negotiations began in September 2018 and after nine rounds of US- Taliban talks in Qatar, the two sides have come up with the peace deal after a long and risky negotiation.

Features of the deal:

  • Cease-fireNegotiators agreed to a temporary reduction in violence and a lasting cease-fire among U.S., Taliban, and Afghan forces will be part of intra-Afghan negotiations.
  • Withdrawal of foreign forces: The United States has agreed to reduce their number of troops in the country from around 12,000 to 8,600 within the next 135 days. If the Taliban follows on its commitments, all U.S.and other foreign troops will leave Afghanistan within fourteen months. The USA and the Taliban agreed to the release of up to five thousand Taliban prisoners in exchange for up to one thousand Afghan security personnel.
  • Intra-Afghan negotiations: The Taliban has indicated the possibility of talks with the Afghan government to resolve intra-Afghan disagreements, which it had opposed all these years. 
  • Counterterrorism assurances: The Taliban guaranteed that Afghanistan will not be used by any of its members, other individuals, or terrorist groups to threaten the security of the United States and its allies. S. officials have also stressed protecting women’s rights which were curved by the Taliban prior to its 2001 overthrow.
  • Prisoner Release: The Us-Taliban pact says up to 5,000 imprisoned Taliban and up to 1,000 prisoners from “the other side” held by the Taliban will be released by March 10.
  • Sanctions Removal: UN sanctions on Taliban leaders to be removed by three months and US sanctions by August 27. The sanctions will be out before much progress is expected in the intra-Afghan dialogue.

Significance of the deal:

  • It will bring one of the longest wars in contemporary times to an end.
  • It gives a chance for Afghanistan to bring an end to nearly two decades of conflict, which has claimed more than 90,000 Afghan lives.
  • It’s a major step forward, despite deep uncertainty and scepticism over the future of the deal. When the only possible alternative is unending war, many Afghans seem ready to take this risk for peace.
  • It has brought all the sections of Afghan society in the peace process.

Challenges with the deal:

  • One-sided Deal: The fundamental issue with the US-Taliban deal is that it excludes the Afghan Government because the Taliban do not see the government as legitimate. Also, there is no reference to the constitution, rule of law, democracy, and elections in the deal.
  • Issues with intra-Afghan dialogue: The political tussle between President Ashraf Ghani and his opponent Abdullah Abdullah may descend into open conflict. This, along with the lifting of the US military footprint and the return of the Taliban, could result in a civil war in the country.
  • Fissures within the Taliban: The Taliban is composed of various regional and tribal groups acting semi-simultaneously. All of them may not be ready or willing to follow the directions of their top leadership. It is, therefore, possible that some of them may continue to engage in attacks on the Afghan troops and even American forces during the withdrawal process thus jeopardizing the deal.
  • Problem with Prisoner’s swap: The US-Taliban agreement lays down no deadlines for the Prisoner’s swap. Afghanistan President initially held that there is no commitment to release 5,000 prisons. This has led to continued skirmishes between the Taliban and the Afghan troops.
  • No promises on Civil Liberties and Democracy: Taliban, whose rule is known for strict religious laws, has not made any promises on whether it would respect civil liberties or accept the Afghan Constitution.

Impact of this deal on various stakeholders:

United States:

The promise to end America’s “endless wars” in the greater Middle East was one of the central themes of US President Trump’s election campaign in 2016. This deal may demonstrate progress on that front in his bid for re-election in the next election. However, some believe that the deal is little more than a dressed-up US surrender to the Taliban.


The deal provides a strategic advantage to Pakistan, which is the long term Benefactor of the Taliban. The Taliban’s ascendance to power will enhance Pakistan’s Influence in Afghanistan as well as the entire region as it will provide strategic depth to Pakistan.


Strengthened relations between China and Pakistan, especially after their partnership in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC), Pakistan, has become more of a protectorate state of China. Thus, China may leverage the influence that Pakistan has over the Taliban, to further its strategic projects like the Belt and Road Initiative.

Impact of this deal on India:


  • Impact on Indian investments India has a major stake in the stability of Afghanistan as India has invested considerable resources in Afghanistan’s development. A Taliban government in the future can harm Indian investments in Afghanistan.
  • Strategic setback vis-à-vis Pakistan: India is in favour of the continuation of the current Afghanistan government on power, which it considers a strategic asset vis-à-vis Pakistan. An increased political, as well as military role for the Taliban and the expansion of its territorial control, is of great concern for India since the Taliban is widely believed to be an ally of Islamabad.
  • Security Challenges: There may be a mainstreaming of the Haqqani network in the region which may have a direct impact on India’s security. Terrorists freed from Afghanistan can be diverted towards Jammu and Kashmir. This may be the reason behind increased terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Impact on relations with Central Asia: As Afghanistan is the gateway to Central Asia, the deal might dampen India’s interests in Central Asia.
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Futility of the deal highlighted:

  • The attack on a Gurudwara in Kabul, in which 25 people were killed, has shown the futility of the US-Taliban deal.
  • It was claimed by the Islamic State(IS), which later on said that it had carried it out in revenge for Kashmir.
  • If there were still doubts left on this score, it must be clear after this attack that the US-Taliban deal was not an arrangement to return Afghanistan to peace.

Way Ahead:

India must adopt balanced diplomacy without favouring any particular section by sacrificing its own interests.

  • India must ensure that it remains in the loop of consultations or otherwise arrange for alternative means to safeguard its commercial and security concerns in the aftermath of the withdrawal of coalition forces. Leaving the past behind, India may also unilaterally open dialogue with the Taliban to protect its interests.
  • India should harness the strategic depth and goodwill of Afghan citizens to become a prominent player in the Afghan process in the future.
  • There is a need for the global community to fight against global terrorism by adopting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism proposed by India.

An independent, sovereign, democratic, and inclusive Afghanistan is crucial for peace and stability in the entire South and Central Asian region. So, an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled peace process is the way ahead.

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